Joan Shifrin and Catherine Shimony founded Global Goods Partners (GGP) in 2005. As a not-for-profit social enterprise, GGP is committed to providing sustainable jobs for women.
They provide sustainable market access to handcrafted, fair trade products through their online store and through wholesale sales to stores around the U.S. and abroad.
Each artisan that creates products for GGP earns reliable, fair living wages and gains experience that can add benefit to all aspects of her life.
GGP’s work has touched more than 20,000 women artisans around the world. Joan and Catherine are not only business partners, they are close friends.
This is their story in their own words (edited for space and flow).
It has tremendous impact to employ a woman or allow a woman to earn a livelihood – not only on her life, but on her children’s lives and the larger community.
The challenge we saw was how to bring marginalized women, women who are not only in some of the poorest countries, but also are the poorest within their countries, into economic activity locally and internationally.
12 years later, we have customers in all 50 states and in many countries.
We also work with major retailers like Macy’s under their Gifts that Give Hope brand.
In online retail it’s hard to distinguish between a group that has little connection to communities and a group like us who has been doing it for 12 years and established close relationships with communities and artisans.
Our success is really dependent on our partners’ success. If we’re not successful selling their products, if we go away, their market dissolves. Our goal is to introduce them to other potential customers, but that takes time.
Starting a new anything – business, organization – can be scary. But it’s okay to take risks as long as there is a well-thought-out process.
What I [Joan] love about this work is bringing products to the marketplace and people appreciating them.
I [Catherine] love hearing from the artisans how excited they are that women in the U.S. value their product, have purchased it and enjoy wearing it.
You can find Global Goods Partners on their website, on Facebook and on Instagram
PS – Grab your Fair Trade, women-made, handmade, gorgeous gifts! Get 15% off on your Global Goods Purchase. Use code: KB15.